And so to my second sports related blog in fairly quick succession and this one is focused on the NFL and the current goings on there!
To start with, a note on the CBA, it’s still not been agreed! However a court has granted an injunction to lift the lockout, which means the players can return to team facilities again. There are so many different bits about the injunction though, and I won’t claim to know how it all works. But from what I understand the league year will start next week and the NFL will seemingly run on the 2010 rules. The draft was affected in the sense that players could not be traded for picks, a pick could only be traded for another pick (not necessarily the same year though). With that I would have thought trades would be less frequent in this draft, but as I’ll note later it didn’t stop the teams from shifting picks around.
I’ll admit I hadn’t seen much of the 2011 Draft Prospects before the first round of the draft took place last night, but I’ll detail some of the picks below and any thoughts I have on each one.
First on the clock were the Carolina Panthers, and it wasn’t a surprise as they selected Cam Newton, a quarterback out of Auburn. A lot of the pre-draft articles had Newton going to Carolina, so it was pretty much expected. Whether he can prove himself to be the franchise guy the team needs is obviously yet to be determined! Denver grabbed Von Miller, a Linebacker out of Texas, with the 2nd pick, which was closely followed by Buffalo selecting Alabama Defensive Tackle Marcell Dareus. An interesting selection was made at 4, as the Bengals looked to improve their receivers by bringing in AJ Green. The Bengals had TO and Ocho last season and didn’t make an impact, maybe clearing one or both of them out for the rookie and a free agent could change their fortunes in that respect.
Some of the picks will be just listed, mainly due to my lack of input on such matters! That starts with Arizona selecting Cornerback Patrick Peterson at 5! Atlanta had the 6th pick from Cleveland, using it on WR Julio Jones, whilst San Francisco grabbed DE Aldon Smith at 7. I’ve read a few opinions elsewhere and already some are saying that the 8th pick by the Titans could be a mistake, with QB Jack Locker being taken too early. The same has also been said for the Vikings taking QB Christian Ponder at 12, but you never know, these guys may just step up to the plate and make the difference needed? Just one more QB was selected this year in the first round, with that being Blaine Gabbert out of Missouri, who was taken at 10 by Jacksonville. This was a guy who some mock drafts had actually had going earlier, although to be honest being drafted first round shouldn’t be a disappointment for any rookie!
Generally the next block of the first round was defensively focused, with the Texans, Lions, Rams, Redskins and Chargers all selecting Defensive Ends or Defensive Tackles. Some trades took place later in the round; with the most significant being the New Orleans Saints trading up with the Patriots for the 28th pick to get Running Back Mark Ingram. Offensive Linebackers dominated the final half of the draft, with Mike Pouncey going to Miami, Nate Solder going to New England, Anthony Castonzo to Indianapolis, Danny Watkins to Philadelphia, James Carpenter to Seattle, and Gabe Carimi to Chicago.
My focus though was on the 30th selection, that of the New York Jets, and to be honest many of us had absolutely no idea who would be picked. Would the team trade down, up or just grab the best guy available at the time? Well that question was answered at around 4am this morning, as when on the clock the New York Jets used the 30th pick of the 2011 Draft to select Muhammad Wilkerson, a Defensive Tackle out of Temple. A decent pick given the players available and he will add something to the defensive line, giving it depth and some extra aggressiveness. Jets fans should be pleased with the pick, and from what I read already, it looks like they are! Now the focus goes to tonight and the following rounds, will we trade up for another pick?